Although we lost some of our best Southern voices this year, including the incomparable Sharon Jones and boundary-pusher Leon Russell, 2016 was also filled with Southern artists taking one of the bigger resurveyings of our region’s sound has seen. From Beyoncé’s experiential Lemonade and her sister Solange’s identity think piece A Seat at the Table to the Drive-By Truckers’ American Band, the year’s most powerful social commentary came from Southerners’ perspectives. Hiss Golden Messenger and Robert Ellis taught us that nostalgic sounds don’t have to be taken so literally; that songwriting based in real-time personal experience still makes for the best foundation. There were career defining moments for country superstars like Miranda Lambert and the genre transcendent Angel Olsen. Legends like Loretta Lynn, Allen Toussaint (albeit posthumously), and John Prine continued to preserve and share the best elements of Southern music. Here are our favorite albums of 2016.
Follow us on Spotify for our playlist featuring all our favorite songs from the list.